Elder Haight Counsels MTC Presidents

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“Elder Haight Counsels MTC Presidents,” Ensign, Apr. 1999, 77–78

Elder Haight Counsels MTC Presidents

“We encourage you to move the work along at a faster pace,” said Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to six new MTC presidents and their wives during training meetings held in January at the Provo Missionary Training Center. President Haight noted that three of the presidents would be leading MTCs in “three of the greatest success stories in the Church”: Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines. In the past 35 years, Elder Haight said, 184 stakes have been created in Mexico, 173 stakes in Brazil, and 64 stakes in the Philippines.

“You will have great influence upon thousands and thousands of young men and women and couples, but particularly upon the young people,” Elder Haight said. “The work will continue. We will find better methods to do missionary work. People can accomplish more than they think they can.” When missionaries are faithful, he said, they carry “the greatest message they will ever carry. Our challenge is not the message, it is the messenger. It is how we look and how we act and how we feel about the message.”

Missionary Funerals

Elder Haight also spoke on 30 January in Moroni, Utah, at the funeral service of Elder Jaarl Michael Papenfuss, age 20, one of two missionaries who drowned on 18 January in the Canary Islands. Bishop Richard C. Edgley, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, presided over a funeral held in Dale City, Virginia, for the other missionary, Elder Joshua Matthew Prymak, age 19.

The missionaries, who were serving in the Spain Las Palmas Mission, were taking photos along a rocky seashore on their preparation day when waves swept Elder Prymak and another missionary away. The other missionary made it back to shore, but when Elder Prymak did not return, Elder Papenfuss went after him. Their bodies were recovered two days later.

Speaking of missionary work beyond the veil, Elder Haight said that the missionaries have been reassigned in their service. He talked about how Church members can survive such losses through their testimonies. “Some of you will live as long as I, and some will go early,” said Elder Haight, who is 92. “It’s a part of the gospel plan.”